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Lake City lawsuit sent back to district court

The Minnesota Court of Appeals has sent back a portion of the lawsuit filed by a former Lake City library administrator to district court.

In an opinion by the Minnesota State Court of Appeals filed on Monday, a decision by Wabasha County District Court for a summary judgment in the case of former Lake City librarian Sheryl V. Mooers was upheld with one exception. The opinion is unpublished, which means it is not be used as precedent in other cases.

Mooers filed a lawsuit in July 2012 against Lake City and Mayor Jerry Dunbar alleging breach of contract and sexual harassment, along with allegations against City Attorney Karen England, City Council member Mark Spence, and John and Jane Doe, representing another City Council member and an anonymous complainant.

The Court of Appeals concluded that Mooers raised “at least a general issue of material fact as to whether Dunbar’s conduct constituted sexual harassment under section 1983,” the opinion states.

In the 2012 civil complaint, Mooers alleged that Dunbar sent her “inappropriate” emails, called and texted her cellphone and showed up at her apartment uninvited on one occasion to make “unwelcome sexual advances” toward her.

The opinion states that the evidence as to whether the alleged sexual harassing acts were unwelcome is mixed, however “it is not the district court’s role on summary judgment to weigh the evidence and assess Mooers’ credibility.”

Wabasha County District Court’s decision to grant summary judgment in regards to Dunbar was reversed by the appeals court and sent back to district court for further proceedings.

The complaint alleges 20 counts in all, which include violation of the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act and the Minnesota Open Meeting Law, defamation, invasion of privacy and violation of due process.

Mooers was suspended from her position in January 2012, when she was escorted off the premises by a police officer.

Summary judgments upheld The Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld the decision of the district court to grant a summary judgment for the following:

• sexual harassment allegations against the city

• the common-law defamation claims

• invasion of Mooers’ privacy claim

• Mooers’ data practices claims

• the district court’s decision to permit redacted transcripts for purposes of discovery

John R. Russett

John Russett is a regional reporter for RiverTown Multimedia, covering a variety of issues facing RiverTown communities. Previously, he worked at the Red Wing Republican Eagle, where he reported on education as well as crime and courts. 

You can follow him on Twitter at @JohnRyanRussett


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